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Tuesday, 11 February 1986
Page: 44


Senator CHANEY (Leader of the Opposition)(4.14) —by leave-I move:

That the Senate take note of the papers.

The only comment I wish to make at this stage relates to the Industries Assistance Commission report on passenger concessions. It is interesting to see that this report, which has now been tabled, is dated 6 November 1985 and predates by some weeks the debate in the Senate on the Government's legislation on passenger concessions. Honourable senators will recall that the Opposition opposed the Government's inward duty free shopping proposals and did so on the basis of its concern at the possible reduction of barrier control, or the complication of barrier control which the introduction of inward duty free shopping would present.

Under the Government's new arrangements there are to be shopping points between the point of exit from an aircraft and the Customs barrier. Whilst on the face of it that might seem a useful additional facility for incoming passengers it also presents an additional difficulty for those who are trying to control the flow of people and of possible illicit goods through the Customs barrier. It means that additional people will be introduced into the movement across the barrier. The report confirms that there is concern that the proposals would hinder Customs operations. It states:

Indeed, the probability is that, in some airports, it would hinder Customs in processing passengers and achieving the other objectives of barrier control.

The principal concern is that there should not be any further complication of the very real difficulties that Customs faces in controlling the flow of drugs into this country. I just wanted on this occasion to draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that the final report, like the interim report we had before us at the time we debated the legislation, brings out this same problem. It is a matter which is of continuing concern to the Opposition and a matter which we would want to follow up further in the light of experience following these changes.